Artificial Reef created in hopes of bringing fishermen and snorkelers to Hernando County

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. - The Gulf on the Nature Coast is much more shallow than others areas of the state and is not a good area for fish habitat. But with the help of BP Oil Spill money, Hernando County wants to change that.

It's the first shallow water reef to ever be created off the nature coast and it’s happening about 6 miles west of Hernando Beach where the county is working to drop 50 man-made “reef balls” into the water. 

Larry Biggs is the owner of Reef Innovation who is the working with the county to create this artificial reef.

He said, "Smaller boats can come out here and use the reefs a lot better than trying to go out 30 miles or 40 miles to the bigger reef sites."

Biggs says the artificial reefs being made in about 12 feet of water will be a habitat for fish and sea life including corals, sponges, and sea squirts.

The reefs are made of shell and salt water friendly concrete and each one weighs about 1,500 pounds. 

They are strategically placed in eco-friendly areas and Biggs says the fish are moving in already.

Biggs said, "Within a couple of years this with be functioning as a regular reef that would’ve been here for all time." 

The county will be checking this test area for the next year and if it’s successful they’re planning to use BP Oil Spill money to create 15 to 20 more artificial reefs, bringing more sea life and tourism to the area. 

Biggs said, "It provides another spot for people to go to and fish, snorkel, and check out the marine life in the area."

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